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Tycoon Sudhir Hits at Bank Of Uganda after Court Victory – You People stole my Bank

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has hit at certain Bank of Uganda officials after flooring them in court battle accusing them of stealing his bank, unnecessarily dragging him to court, and prolonging the case for selfish gains.

Speaking to the press right after Friday’s Supreme Court Ruling, a bullish Sudhir said; “These people stole my bank. They shared the legal fees in Bank of Uganda.”

“In my opinion- the legal department of the Central Bank has become so corrupt, that they prolong these cases so that when they pay their lawyers the high fees, they share the fees. And that is why they keep prolonging these cases,” the businessman said, adding that however justice had been served, albeit at a high price.

“I want to thank the Judiciary, for giving me the justice that was denied me, by Bank of Uganda falsely taking me to court,” he told the media in an interview outside court, adding: “I sincerely thank the Judiciary- the Supreme Court and all the courts where we now, finally can say justice has been achieved.”

Video courtesy of CEO Magazine

“It has taken more than five years to fight this case. We have suffered a huge amount of losses in our businesses, concentrating on this case,” he further said.

Today, five justices of the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Bank of Uganda’s appeal against earlier High Court and Court of Appeal rulings that had rendered the Central Bank’s case against the businessman as barred in law. The two courts had also condemned the Bank of Uganda to pay the costs of the suit.

However, a dissatisfied Bank of Uganda appealed to Supreme Court but before the appeal could be heard on its own merits, the central bank, under the cover of Crane Bank (In Receivership) on 15th September 2021 notified the Supreme Court of their intention to withdraw the multi-billion dispute.

“Take notice that the appellant Crane Bank (In Receivership) does not intend further to prosecute the appeal,” Bank of Uganda wrote, adding: “Take further notice that the Appellant will pay the costs of the appeal and in the courts below to the respondents (Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments).”

However, the businessman, through his lawyers, Kampala Association Advocates (KAA), objected to the withdrawal notice arguing that allowing the notice as was, departed from the decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal which had ordered that that it was Bank of Uganda (BOU) to pay the costs and not Crane Bank (In Receivership).

The lawyers also argued that both the lower courts and the Supreme Court- in a separate but related application, had already held that the existence of Crane Bank (In Receivership) had ceased on 20th January 2018, and therefore the same non-existent party cannot purport to file a notice of withdrawal as well as determine that it shall pay costs. 

The lawyers, therefore, argued that no execution can be commenced against the non-existent Crane Bank (In Receivership) and that therefore an order against Crane Bank (In Receivership) to pay costs would be in vain.

In accordance with Rule 90(4), we pray that the appeal is dismissed with costs to be paid by Bank of Uganda,” the billionaire businessman’s lawyers argued.

Delivering their ruling today, the five justices all concurred with Dr. Sudhir’s lawyers’ arguments and further ruled that the decision by the Bank of Uganda to withdraw Civil Appeal No.7 of 2020, reinstated the earlier orders by the Court of Appeal and the High Court that it was Bank of Uganda to pay the costs.  

They also ruled that since the receivership of Crane Bank ended on 20th January 2018 and therefore the company reverted to its shareholders, allowing Bank of Uganda’s Notice of Withdrawal would imply that the Crane Bank and its shareholders are to pay the costs of the suit to themselves.

How much is BOU likely to pay in costs?

In an interview with the media soon after the Supreme Court had pronounced itself on the matter, Peter C.R Kabatsi the team leader of the Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA) that represented the businessman said that the expenses will be calculated per the law— The Advocates Remuneration and Taxation of Costs (as amended) Regulations.

“I can’t tell you what it will be, but it will be calculated according to those laws,” he said, adding: “BoU must bear the consequences dragging him to court for over five years now. This case has taken five years from the time, the suit was filed in 2017. That is not cheap.”

These people stole my bank. They shared the legal fees in Bank of Uganda,” a bullish Dr. Sudhir charged.

Giving an insight into what is at stake, Mr, Kabatsi said: “First of all, he lost his bank, which he should never have lost because of the mistakes of officers, of the Bank of Uganda and has had to endure the five years onslaught of fighting this massive case― for five years, meaning that he could not even concentrate on other activities; other businesses. He has spent all the time prosecuting the defense of this case, before all these courts. It is extremely expensive and the Bank of Uganda as you have heard will bear all those expenses.”

He however said that the costs were not as important as the relief that his client would now enjoy now that the legal yoke had been lifted off him.

“I am sure finally, Dr. Sudhir, beginning today, is enjoying a great sense of relief,” he said.

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